This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

There is, and has been,  a lot of dialogue about who is the “leader” of the home. I was raised with the stance that the man is the head. When I got married we had leaders around us who also asserted that view and to be honest it created a lot of confusion, frustration, stress, fights and hurt because we couldn’t figure out how to make that work. When we stopped worrying about who was leading, we found that we just naturally took on certain roles that we were each more skilled and gifted at. Most of these beautifully complimented each other. A friend of mine could not accept this and said, “But someone has to be the captain of the ship.” Well my friend, if my marriage was a ship – it sank!

I think this imagery is totally a wrong fit for my marriage. I believe that a more accurate depiction is a ‘Relay race’. When we got married we decided to enter this race together as a team. If one of us was the leader then that person would be incredibly tired because they would be doing all the running, or if there was an area that the other was better suited to lead there would be a fight over the baton. This actually happened for Rod and I a lot while we tried to figure out how to make our marriage work and conform to the images that others believed  it should be.

Because of a lot of different factors, we eventually quit the race. We both believed that the other did not want to run the race together anymore and we got divorced. We started our own races, which were still connected because of our kids, but they were our own separate races. This was a very hurtful process of learning and growth. Running a race that was intended to be run for two was very hard. Single parenting is exhausting and draining!

I’m not thankful of the way we had to learn things, but I am grateful for what we have learned. I have no doubt that Rod loves me and wants to run with me – even if I feel hurt or unloved, I know the truth without a shadow of a doubt and I believe he knows the same. We grew as people and have better character as a result of being apart. Our kids have learned that even the most broken and torn apart relationships can be restored and healed. Forgiveness is worth it, trust can be rebuilt.

So now we are on this race together and sometimes he runs ahead because I need him to, sometimes I do for him. Sometimes we run with the baton between us, but we are running the same race together and we won’t ever give up.

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I do a ridiculous amount of things, but I really love the things I do. There are so many things I don’t get to do that I would love to. Some days it can be overwhelming because at times they demand my attention all at once and, of course, urgently! Last week and this week have been weeks like that ,but in addition, many good things are happening. My kids are growing, my business is growing and more opportunities are possible. But, this adds a huge amount of responsibility, pressure and stress.

I find that when the responsibility, pressure and stress build, I lose sight of the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that God is not calling me to anything that He has not equipped me for. The bigger picture is that I can do all things through Him. When it builds, I feel like there are these arrows that are shot at the bigger picture – it thus becomes a target. They are the arrows of demands, insecurities, and barbs from others etc. They each, one at a time, start to obscure the picture and some cause more damage than others.

I start to feel like I am alone bearing all this responsibility. As the company grows, there are more and more people that depend on me for their livelihood. More and More students who need care. My own children who depend on me for everything – including their schooling. If they get a failing grade in school, it’s really because I haven’t done my job – not because they can’t learn.

I start to really self doubt. Who am I to think I could do one of these things let alone all these things? I look at all my areas of weakness that seem to stand out so much more than my skill. I start to think I should give up something, or all the things.

I think everyone has these times. I am thankful that they don’t seem to last long. I have learned how to handle them better. I take out each arrow; one at a time. I examine if there is any truth to it that I should learn from and throw away the rest. It still takes a while to work through it all and it’s a process. Sometimes as your taking some out, more come in. Like I said – it’s a process. But removing those arrows is critical to again regaining focus of the big picture and being able to once again stand and affirm who I am in Christ, what He has called me to and the fact that He is working in and through me to accomplish this work.

The bigger picture gets me out of bed each morning. The bigger picture inspires me. The bigger picture is my passion and worth all the effort and work. If your feeling overwhelmed, take some moments, step back and look at the bigger picture. If anything is obscuring it, then deal with that stuff and refocus. Sometimes other people can really help us to see obstructions that we can’t see and/or helps us to get rid of them.

Get your eyes back on the prize.

We can do this!

I can’t keep you alive

Since my last post about my friend who committed suicide, there have been opportunities where people have shared with me their desire to commit suicide. This has been incredibly painful. I am so heartbroken to see so much pain. I am so incredibly grateful that I have had the opportunity to share their pain with them.

At thanksgiving someone posted on facebook about their belief that no one except essential services should have to work on thanksgiving. I made the comment that not everyone wants to be, or is able to be with their families so perhaps allowing them to work is actually a very good thing for them. Someone responded that it was sad that this is the case and I agree, but I commented that it is a reality. See I don’t think that this lady even thought about the fact that there are people who don’t have a white picket fence and a super loving, squishy family who gives hugs and kisses and affirms everyone. On the one hand, I’m glad that it means she has this – I wish more did. On the other hand, I wish she would pull her head out of her ass because its not that hard to see the pain in the world around us. I mean does this lady not own a TV or ever leave her home??

Christmas is usually a time of year that people have more initiative to look for those who are hurting and that’s great. Christmas, and everything that it is, can bring a lot of hurt.

I still stand by my pledge that I am someone who you can reach out to and tell me your honest feelings – especially about suicide and I will listen. I won’t judge or ask why or try and make a huge list of why you shouldn’t do it. I will just be here to hear you so your not alone. Here’s the catch that you need to know: I can’t keep you alive. I will do everything I can to support you but I can’t fix everything – or sometimes even anything.

When I taught my kids to ride a bike (and I still have one more yet to go), I helped them get on, I walked with them, I gave them just the right amount of forward motion, I helped them steer but in the end they had to peddle and they had to ride the bike. I can’t ride your bike for you. If you need help getting on, then I can do that. If you need help moving forward, I can help with that, and if you need help steering, I’ll do my best but sometimes I get lost too. The only thing I can promise is that you won’t be alone while your trying to figure things out and hopefully if we keep trying together – one day you will ride without my support and we get to ride alongside each other and have a great adventure.

I want you to LIVE


 

I live in a place where we don’t get a lot of snow. I chose that on purpose. As of right now we have been a one vehicle family for over two weeks because I can’t drive my car -because of SNOW.Yes its beautiful, but it can leave my city anytime and it will not be too soon. People are just not prepared!

So this morning I walked to my yoga class and the post office. I was walking home when I was wished a Merry Christmas in a non very Christmassy way. I was on the sidewalk and there were two vehicles wanting to turn left in front of me to get into the parking lot but they had an oncoming car. I know that in the scenario of car versus human, car wins so I just waited in case she decided to turn. As the oncoming car approached, the rear vehicle that was waiting honked his horn at the little car in front of him. Once the oncoming car passed, the car turned left no problem and the big truck followed. I waived my arm to signify he should slow down and he stopped in front of me and lowered his window. So I asked him, since perhaps it was someone else who had honked, but he assured me it was him and that he had been waiting “an hour” for her to turn.I told him that it had not been an hour and then he said I should “mind my own f’ing business.” I replied that he should not talk that way with a child in the car.

I understand that in his truck he could have made that turn in the time he expected the young lady in front of him to, but she wasn’t him. She drove a small car and road conditions are so bad I was told that two of our bridges are shut down. I’m so sorry if the extra 60 seconds that lady took to ensure that everyone was safe is going to impede his super urgent plans.

Here’s the thing though – I will NOT mind my own business when it comes to bully people like that. My concern is that the lady driving the car in front of him will second guess herself the next time and maybe take that turn that she doesn’t have time for because she doesn’t want to upset the asshat behind her. However, the more we live in community, and the more we build each other up then the more confident we are of our own decisions. If she feels supported and confident then she wont care if there is honking behind her. She will make the best decision she needs to, make based on the information available to her ie. her car is small, road conditions are bad, there is a pedestrian, and she only has front wheel drive.

Is your life so important that 60 seconds will dramatically change your day? Her life and my life are more important to make you wait sir – and that IS MY business regardless. Making sure other people aren’t being bullied IS MY business. It’s been too long and too often that people aren’t saying anything. People are being pushed to the brink of destruction – either self destruction or school shooting kind of destruction. We don’t want to be pushed around anymore. Each person has value and worth just the same.

Don’t but your nose in somewhere just for the sake of being “in the know” and having the ability to gossip. But I want you to make it your business when people are hurting because they need help. If your willing to get involved then make it your business so that people don’t feel alone and unsupported. You do have to pay attention and be sensitive to the needs of the people in pain. They may need help in a way you are not prepared for, so know that if you come to the table you have to meet them where they are at – not whats comfortable for you or whats easy for you to do.

It IS MY business when someone is hurting and I can do something to help.

It’s eight days till Christmas and I attended a funeral this morning. Christmas is not my favourite time of year and this was not a welcome addition. No one wants to be at a funeral; let alone as people are busy shopping and decorating and baking. So much pain in a time that is supposed to be so happy. 

Sital was a friend from when Rod and I were dating. Her and her husband started doing photography and we had them photograph our first wedding. They also did a photo session at Spanish banks six months after our son was born. Those were great times with them. They were such a fun couple. Sital had lots of energy and a loving personality. She was great behind the camera but also as a friend. 

What makes her loss extremely devastating is that she took her own life. There are many things wrong in this broken world in which we live and suicide is one of them. Accidents happen, diseases happen, old age happens- suicide should not happen. 

Her 14 year old daughter was so brave today as she spoke about her mom and her death. She said we need to talk. She’s right. 

The first thing I did when I found out was that I called a dear friend who I know struggled with depression and who I know has contemplated suicide. I told him (through sobs) that if he ever felt like acting on those feelings that he needed to call me and I would be on the first plane I could to go to him. I told him I wouldn’t have any answers nor would I know what to say but I would just sit with him so he had tangible proof that he wasn’t alone. I would stay as long as he needed me. 

Sometimes people don’t know until it’s too late. I highly doubt that Sital knew how many people her life has impacted and how deeply people cared for her. Depression lies to you about such things. Pain is a big mask that filters out all incoming positive aspects of life and relationships and only allows in the negative. 

In talking we become vulnerable. We share the good and the bad- but that’s what makes us relatable. I wear many hats – mother, wife, business owner, coach, teacher, friend, daughter and others. I struggle. I love what I do but it’s really really hard. Sometimes more than others. I have wanted to give up and quit. Thankfully I haven’t had suicidal thoughts since I was a teen but I’ve been close to running away. Like actually very close to getting on a plane at random just to go somewhere else for an undetermined amount of time. Life is so hard sometimes.

Some people share that openly and publicly. As long as your not doing that for the dramatic attention then that’s great. Others share more quietly or not at all. Regardless of the medium, we need to connect. God did not make us to be lone islands. He built us for community. That community is hard and sometimes it’s the community that we’re currently in that hurts us. This is one reason I love living in a big city. If one group of people really sucks I go find another group of people that are super awesome. 

Be in community of some kind. 

Have real and authentic relationships. 

Be vulnerable. 

And please above all else…

Never Give Up Hope. I don’t ever want to be at your funeral for that reason. Your not alone.  

Please save me

I’ve been raped.So all the media this past two weeks surrounding the young woman raped behind the dumpster, her 12 page statement (which I read in entirety), the judges light sentence, and the statement from the rapists father, have created a firestorm inside my head. I think about her and I think about me. I think about how broken our world is.

It’s easy to get lost in the darkness, but the bicycle saves me. The young women wrote that she has two pictures of bicycles above her bed to remind her that there are heroes in the world. People who stopped what they were doing when they saw something wrong and they got involved. We need more people on bicycles. The problem is that people don’t realize that they are on bicycles. They don’t realize that they can help.

bicycle.png

I will not give specific details, but I will say that there was someone who could have prevented my rape and they chose not to help. They kept riding. Thankfully it is not likely that you will come across a girl behind a dumpster, but please don’t think that you are any less powerless to help.

You are a person on a bike because you can help change the way society thinks about women and rape. Don’t laugh at rape jokes. Don’t engage in any behaviour that encourages blaming or shaming the victim. Part of why I don’t share my entire story is that I know there are some who would say it was my fault. I know because I said it to myself hundreds of times. If only I had….why didn’t I….

I’m in a place now that I know it’s not my fault but it doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t mean I can withstand others telling me it’s my fault. I believe there would be less rape victims if we took this seriously. When we think women played a role in their rape by what they were wearing, their location or their consumption of alcohol we are making more rapists. When only 3 in 100 rapists have any kind of consequence at all and that consequence is a slap on the wrist, we are creating more rapists.

Bicycle people are people who will stand up and say this is not ok. They will use their voices for those who can’t/couldn’t. They will demand change. I have been a rape victim but I am now a person on a bicycle trying to save others. Will you help me?  You can’t stop what happened to me in the past but you can make a difference to stop this in the future for someone else. If you do that then you are saving me because rape victims have faces and names and families. I am one. Save me.

Not just your Jesus

One of my favourite things in the world is the ocean. I have always loved it and always will. It soothes my soul, and not for its rhythmic sounds, but for it sheer raw power. The ocean is beautiful but if you mess with it, it will take you out. It has mysteries too deep for us to ever know. Dangers that lurk under its surface. The sheer magnitude is staggering. Every crashing wave is a demonstration of its strength. It can be incredibly useful, but also deadly. 

The power and strength of the ocean draws me because when I was young, I was vulnerable and hurt deeply. I seek protection – even as an adult. The result of my pain was that I became a fighter,but it never changes that inside I still hurt and am still vulnerable. In fact I am a huge believer in the wholehearted living that Brene Brown talks about, which is essentially about living vulnerably. It’s not building a castle so no one can ever hurt you again, but about having people around me so that when I am hurt they can help me. I need people who are strong in my life because I walk through hard places. 

It’s also why I am drawn more to Jesus when I read that He is the kind of man who took the time to make a whip and throw out those who were exploiting his people. Yes, He’s a God of mercy but also, just as much, He is a God of justice. He’s strong and powerful. That’s my Jesus.

But Jesus is not just that way. He welcomed little children, he washed the feet of his disciples, and he made sure his mother would be cared for once He was gone. He is tender and nurturing. It’s not that I deny this side of Jesus, but it’s not what draws me to him. Others who were hurt like me became timid, not fighters, and they can’t relate to my strong Jesus. Jesus’ tenderness is what draws them. But Jesus is perfectly balanced that way and it doesn’t matter what side I am seeing of him, He is both those ways all the time. 

We forget that Jesus is more- SO much more, than just what we want him to be. We want him to fit in our box. We want him to not allow a trans person in our bathroom but we forget that He’s also the Jesus that doesn’t want little children crying and peeing their pants because they can’t go to the boys bathroom at their teaches insistence, but they can’t go to the girls bathroom because the girls won’t let them. This is happening and its destroying children from the inside. There are two sides to every coin and what I want to say more than anything here is that He’s not just your Jesus. Take your glasses off and ask to see Him from a different perspective. It may not be the Jesus you want to see but He’s so much more than we can ever comprehend. He is God. Deeper than the deepest ocean and with far more mysteries.